House committee to take up mental health reform in June

House committee to take up mental health reform in June
© Greg Nash

The House Energy and Commerce committee will mark up a major mental health reform bill in June, panel spokeswoman Jennifer Sherman said Monday. 

The bill from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has long been delayed amid controversy, but Republicans have recently been circulating a draft of revisions.

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The announcement of a markup is a new sign of movement on the bill, as the Senate also tries to move forward with its own mental health measure. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) raised the profile of the bill in December by pointing to it as the Republican response to mass shootings. 

Still, there is a long road ahead. Bridging the gap with the Senate would likely require substantial negotiations. 

It is unclear if Democrats on the committee can be brought on board. Top Democrats said last week that they were skeptical of the renewed effort. 

Democrats have long had strong objections to many areas of the bill, saying it would gut the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and lower privacy protections for mentally ill people. 

A major focus of the latest changes is bringing down the bill’s cost. A change to allow Medicaid to pay for more care at mental health facilities has been scaled back.